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3D tiles are an open specification for streaming massive heterogeneous 3D geospatial datasets, used to stream 3D content, such buildings, trees, point clouds, and vector data. Their primary purpose is to improve streaming and rendering performance of massive heterogeneous datasets. They define a spatial data structure and a set of tile formats designed for 3D. The open specification was introduced in 2016 and became adopted as an OGC Community Standard early 2019.
In October 2018, Cesium ion announced integration with Safe Software’s FME data integration platform in order to further accelerate its 3D tiling pipeline. This way, a variety of 3D spatial data types can be processed in FME and uploaded, tiled and streamed using Cesium.js. Also, FME integration means that a web app can be kept up-to-date, as data workflows can be automated so that when the underlying data changes, new visualizations are generated automatically.
FME users already have two format writers for Cesium available: one that writes 3D tiles and one that writes 3D point clouds. In Safe Software’s upcoming FME release for 2019, a new Cesium ion data transformer will be added that pushes 3D data from FME to Cesium ion and creates a web visualization along with a URL to display it right away in a browser. How this all works is explained in detail in an excellent webinar that also shows you how to use Cesium’s code editor to style your 3D visualization after it has been processed using FME and moved into Cesium’s web mapping platform.